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About

Strategic Background
NRF Strategic Goal for Science Engagement: ● Growing a representative science and technology workforce in South Africa. Three (3) Pillars of SAEON:  Science Observations  Data Management  Education Outreach SAEON Objective for Science Education  To expose, attract, and encourage Grade 9-11 learners to pursue science careers at higher education institutions. SAEON KPI for Science Education:  Number of SAEON learners registering for science related degrees at higher education institutions  Number of SAEON learners advancing to the National Eskom Expo for Young Scientists.
Implementation
The Science Education Outreach Programme is coordinated by the SAEON National Office and implemented by Education Officers at the Nodes. It is the responsibility of the National Office to provide guidance and support to the Nodes for the successful implementation of the Programme. SAEON Nodes provide unique opportunities for long-term ecological research. It is a base for graduates, researchers and scientists to do their research. The integration of research into the education outreach activities contributes to the understanding of the role of education outreach in long-term and large scale ecological processes. Nodes produce information that is relevant to students in a particular area. The SAEON Nodes support the training of graduates in long-term, large scale environmental monitoring and observation. The involvement of graduates in the Education-Outreach programme brings diverse training, skills and resources as a support for schools, educators and community based programmes. The participation of graduates serves as a motivation for future generations of scientists. Graduates help in shaping research that is relevant to local contextual needs. The Department of Education supports the implementation of the Programme by providing time and venues for teacher-workshops and permission for learners to go on workshops. Programme Implementation:  Work with 25 selected schools in the vicinity of the 4 Nodes  Arid lands Node in Kimberley  Ndlovu Node in Phalaborwa  Elwandle Node in Grahamstown  Egagasini Node in Cape Town  Engage with teachers and learners in Grades 9, 10 and 11  Provide teacher-support to improve the quality of science teaching  Work with the same group of learners for three (3) years.
Node-based activities
 School-based monitoring: SAEON has established eight school-based monitoring projects at 24 schools on the following topics: ●Weather stations: 22 schools with AWS. Using real data from these stations that are placed at several schools, the learners get exposure to data analysis and interpretation. The data is used as part of the regular teaching curriculum and gives a fantastic opportunity to link science to the personal level. ●Argo floats: Egagasini ●Tree monitoring: Ndlovu Node  Learner-support: - SAEON Staff, including the scientists, are closely involved with learners and educators in selected schools, with a commitment to assist and mentor these learners from grade 9 to 11. ●Science camps – Learners are hosted for a week of fun, hands-on science, where they conduct their own mini-research projects and learn all about data gathering, analysis and presentation. ●Workshops – Teachers are encouraged and equipped to creatively teach science and incorporate monitoring and data gathering exercises in the classroom. SAEON runs teacher training workshops, awareness events, school visits and assists with the development of teaching resources and work sheets. ●Eskom and other Science expos – We encourage and assist learners with science projects that are presented at these expos. SAEON also awards a prize at the annual national finals for the best projects related to environmental monitoring.  Science Awareness platforms: Several local and international events are attended: ●SciFest ●National Science Week ●National Marine Week ●Science Beyond Borders
Key outcomes of the education programme
The Science education outreach programme focus is to:  Primarily encourage science skills to learners  Create a platform where environmental science research can be integrated into the school science curriculum  Promote an understanding and create awareness in Environmental sciences. Key outcomes of the science education outreach programme are to:  Improve the quality of science teaching through teacher support programmes;  Increase the understanding of science monitoring through schools-based programmes;  Expose learners to science awareness programmes in order to inform, excite, motivate and attract them to careers in science;  Integrate graduate students and scientists into the science education outreach programme;  Improve understanding and management of natural resources by communities;  Drive inter-organisational and international communication, learning and collaboration;  Develop capacity/skills and learning through effective use of external resources.
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